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Civility Linkblogging: Australia, Akron, Campus, and Syria

By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.

This week’s roundup features an article about ordinary citizens in Ohio who are standing up to call for civility, from voters and from candidates alike, in the upcoming round of campaigns and elections. It includes an article about attitudes toward immigration reform and race in Australia. And it includes a discussion — transcribed and in podcast form — in which former U.S. Representative Jim Leach talks about the civility crisis in Washington, D.C., and offers some first steps toward dismantling that culture of acrimony.

If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now, on to the list:

Watch Your Manners: Why Living Racism-Free is a Basic Human Right
Posted by Gillian Triggs at The Conversation, September 4, 2013

Civility is both a complex and simple idea. Most of us were brought up to respect others so, on that level, it is relatively straightforward.

Yet our society is replete with examples of behaviour that lacks basic civility, especially the racism and xenophobia that currently infuses the refugee debate. In a diverse society such as Australia, it is deeply worrying that we continue to mistreat people because of where they come from, their skin colour, gender, age, sexual preference or because they live with a disability.

Leach Lectures on the Lost Art of Civility
Posted at The Muscatine Journal, September 6, 2013

If we want to make our politics more civil, we ought to be more careful about the words we choose, former U.S. Representative Jim Leach said. President Obama is called a fascist and a communist, “sometimes at the same time by the same people.” When people openly talk about seceding from the United States, “I consider that a particularly serious word. These are words that have warring implications.”

For centuries, apparently, the media have played a role making the nation’s discourse less civil. In 1800, Leach said, Thomas Jefferson hired a journalist to call his rival for president, John Adams, a hermaphrodite. “Things were pretty divisive, even then,” Leach said.

Civility Projects to Influence Politics Launched by Akron-Area Groups
Posted by Dave Scott at, September 10, 2013

If you cringe at the thought of another political season, with all of its ugly barbs, you might be comforted to know that three community groups and some politicians are working for civility.

A former college professor has formed Civility Dynamics and will present three “intellectual consciousness-raising” workshops at a local library beginning tonight.

A Bath Township man has started Better Outcomes Political Forums to bring the disciplines of a trained mediator to political debates.

A Wadsworth group continues to discuss current events on public-access television while waiting for tax-exempt status to fund its civility promotions.

Civility Week Unified Students
Posted by Natalie Michelle Rankin at, September 12, 2013

Wednesday will officially kick off Civility Week at Florida State University. Florida State is dedicating the week of Sep. 11 to Sep. 17 to civility and respecting the values of the diversity Seminoles represent.

The weeklong event comes in the wake of controversial comments made by FSU student Mandy Thurston on her Vine account, though it is not directly related to Thurston’s post.

The Syria Debate and a Case for Humility and Civility
Posted by Marv Knox at The Baptist Standard, September 13, 2013

Many friends and I disagree on significant issues of politics and public policy. We talk over meals, occasionally in church, sometimes in cars. Often, we express our opinions passionately. But we never vilify or denigrate each other. And we always know the bonds of our friendship are far stronger—and more important—than the disagreements of our ideology. We disagree, but we part as friends.

What if America were like that? What if we learned to talk civilly? What if we agreed to argue the issues but not attack each other? What if we opened our minds as well as our hearts, relinquishing a tight grip on our arguments in order to learn from each other? We might not agree, but we could appreciate and respect one another.

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